Can you see yourself getting paid to live as a local in one of the most beautiful and historic countries in Europe? Would you like to learn one of the world’s most widely used languages? Do you appreciate top quality wine, cheese and olives, or perhaps world class art? If you seek to truly immerse yourself in a country like Spain, teaching English offers thousands of opportunities to English speakers to live and work in Spain.
Each year hundreds of language schools throughout Spain employ thousands of English speakers as teachers. In addition, the Spanish government recruits more than 2,000 youth under the age of 30 from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. to work as assistant language teachers in state schools. Thousands of other opportunities can be found in private tutoring and in venues like summer camps. Teaching English in Spain won’t make you rich – most teachers earn between € 1200 and € 2000 a month ($1500 - $2600 USD), which is enough to cover expenses and live comfortably, if modestly, but it can provide the international experience of lifetime.
1. Job Market
Get paid to live and work in Spain, one of the largest job markets for teaching English in Europe! Dream of living and working in Madrid, Barcelona, or Seville? Perhaps more than any other field, teaching English provides a realistic and viable way for English speakers to live and work in Spain. Each year, the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture & Sports recruits more than 1,000 Americans and Canadians under the age of 30 to work as assistant English teachers in public schools. In addition, more than 1,000 private language schools and institutes employ upwards of 10,000 foreign English teachers annually, and private tutoring provides oodles of opportunities for English teachers to supplement their income.
2. Picasso & the Prado
From the Renaissance masterpieces of El Greco and the haunting works of Goya, to the exquisite surrealism of Salvador Dali and the innovative genius of Picasso, Spain is home to an artistic heritage that rivals any other in the world. Many of Spain’s artistic treasures can be found in legendary museums like the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, and the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
3. Learn Spanish
The best way to learn a foreign language is to immerse yourself in it. So if you want to master the world’s third most widely spoken language, living and working in Spain as an English teacher will provide a perfect opportunity to do so. In addition, local language classes and tutors will be plentiful and cheaper than enrolling in some fancy international language program.
4. Beautiful Beaches & Coastlines
Boasting more than 5,000 miles of coastline stretching from the legendary Costa del Sol to the rugged shores of Santoña, Spain enjoys a reputation as home to some of the most beautiful beaches and shorelines in the world. The islands and beaches along Spain’s Mediterranean coast attract millions of visitors each year who flock from all of Europe and the world to enjoy the warm sun, exquisite scenery, and world renowned nightlife.
5. Exquisite Architecture
Barcelona defines its character through unique traits like the grand medieval towers of Toledo, the magnificent Moorish palaces of Granada and Alhambra, and the whimsical genius of Gaudi. Spain is home to some of the most unique and historically important architecture in the world.
6. Tapas, Paella & Sangria, Oh My!
Eating in Spain is not just a daily routine, but a celebration of life itself. The country is like a tapestry of culinary masterpieces. Spanish entrees range from a simple plate of cheese and olives at the neighborhood tapas bar to a scientifically created meal in one of the ultra-modern cocina de vanguardia kitchens of world renowned chefs like Ferran Adrià.
Many of Spain’s famous dishes are regional specialties like paella, the great rice dish from Valencia, gazpacho in Andalusia and the cazuelas, or casseroles, of the Cataluña region. Fresh seafood can be found in abundance along coastal regions, and of course, Spain’s cheeses, olives, and jamon (ham) are known as some of the finest in the world.
7. International Professional Experience
In the globalized economy of the 21st century, employers in nearly all sectors seek out those with international work experience. Higher education is following the trend. Graduate schools, including law schools and MBA programs, increasingly look for applicants with international and “real world” experience. Teaching English in a major European country like Spain provides exactly that. In addition, teaching English will enable you to develop communication, presentation, and group management skills that will serve you well in any field.
Spaniards love their sports, from tennis to bullfighting, but fútbol, the sport known as soccer in the U.S., is the undisputed first love of most Spanish sports fans. Though nations like Brazil, Italy, and Germany may hold more World Cups, no nation has been more dominant in recent years on the international level and club levels than Spain. The Spanish national team captured both the latest World Cup and the latest European Championship, and top club teams like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated on both the national and European levels. They boast some of the top players in the world like Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid.
9. Cultural & Regional Diversity
Many have a set image in their minds of what Spain looks like. It often includes the most well known and distinct sites like the spires of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or the famous Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas bullfighting ring in Madrid but there is much more to see. Venture from the towering peaks of the Pyrenees along the French border (after enjoying some world-class skiing) across the vast central plains of central Spain; and down to the subtropical Mediterranean coast, and discover an ever-changing array of topography and climates. You will encounter a fascinating variety of distinct regional identities, cultural traditions, culinary style, and dialects in parts of Spain like Catalonia (which includes Barcelona); Galicia and the Basque Country in northwest Spain; Andalusia and even the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
10. Make a Difference
You may see teaching English in Spain primarily as a means to live there and enjoy all that this magnificent country has to offer, but remember that as a teacher you will make a positive impact on people’s lives. You will help enable them to achieve their goal of learning English and enhance their professional and educational opportunities! There are many more reasons to live and teach English in Spain.
This article was contributed by the International TEFL Academy, an organization that provides TEFL certification programs and teaching placements across the globe.